No matter how much fitness trainers talk about the benefits of a single sweat session, the only nagging question that buzzes through your head is: “How long is it going to take to get in shape while riding a stationary bike?”
It’s a well-known fact that exercise bikes can help boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being. But the main reason almost everyone jumps on these bikes in the first place is to achieve proper form quickly.
So how long do exercise bikes take to achieve sustainable weight loss results? What kind of body changes can you expect after 30 days or even longer? And how can you speed up the process to easily lose fat? These are the points we’re going to discuss in this article, so read on!
How Much Weight Can You Lose by Riding an Exercise Bike for a Month?
Exercising burns calories, so knowing exactly how many calories are in one pound first is essential.
One pound equals 3500 calories, meaning that to lose one pound, you need to burn this number. However, let’s see first the number of calories an exercise bike can help you burn in one hour.
As stated by Harvard Health Publishing, a 125-pound person sheds around 420 calories when doing a moderate-intensity exercise on a stationary bike for 30 minutes.
Likewise, a 155-pound person loses approximately 520 calories, while a 185-person has 600 calories burned at the same exercise intensity and period.
Now, let’s assume that you’re a beginner or new to the cycling world. Chances are you’ll do 20-30 minutes of cycling per day.
And since muscle soreness and fatigue are common factors when starting out on riding a stationary bike, we’re assuming you’re going to exercise 3-4 times a week to allow your muscles to heal on break days.
So here are the body weight loss results a beginner can expect from cycling for a month:
- For a 250-pound person: 2 pounds/month
- For a 155-pound person: 2.3 pounds/month
- For a 185-pound person: 2.75 pounds/month
These low numbers must be shocking, right?
Well, regardless of these numbers, you can achieve double these weight loss results by combining your exercise routine with a healthy diet.
Remember that not everyone loses weight at the same rate. There are other tips too that can help you stay longer in the fat-burning zone, which will go through later in the article.
Factors Affecting Your Weight Loss Rate on a Stationary Bike
OK, let’s take things more seriously. The information mentioned above is the direct answer to your question. But the more accurate one is that several individual factors affect the rate by which you burn fat, and thus the time it takes to see results from riding on a stationary bike.
You can’t determine the amount of weight loss by just considering the time spent exercising on a bike. The most important factor is your starting weight.
A larger mass requires more energy to be moved. This rule applies even to our human bodies, and since calories are a measurement of energy, the heavier you are, the more calories you’ll burn each session.
The opposite is also true. Lighter people require fewer calories, so their fat loss rate won’t be as high as heavier individuals.
The more fit you are, the harder losing weight becomes.
The thing is, your body gets used to the workout and adapts to it after a particular time. As a result, it becomes more efficient, using less energy to perform the demanding tasks you subject it to.
So if you’re starting out with a buff body and sculpted muscles, you might find yourself only losing one to two pounds a month. And you’ll need to cycle longer and engage in high-intensity exercises to lose weight as your regular routine won’t be effective anymore.
On the other hand, a newbie might drop more than 8 pounds a month because their body exerts lots of energy to keep up with the new activity.
Caloric-deficit diet and workout are two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, you can’t lose weight with only one of them.
See, while you can burn around 400 calories cycling on an exercise bike for 30 minutes, you may actually lose all that you’ve accomplished by eating a sandwich right after the ride, especially that exercising increases your hunger levels.
You need to burn 500-1,000 calories more than you eat each day to shed the extra fat. So to reap the benefits of your workouts, you need to engage in a calorie-deficit diet and eat healthily.
If you start working out on a stationary bike with a partner from the other sex, you might find that you’re not losing weight at the same rate.
That’s because men are generally larger and bulkier than women. As a result, they burn 5-10% more calories than females at rest and even more upon exercising. So if you’re a female, you might find yourself lagging out even if you’re more attentive to your caloric intake.
Don’t be discouraged, though! That’s just how nature goes. You can solve that by focusing on building muscles through strength training, as muscle tissues burn more calories than fat ones.
Lastly, the number of calories you burn depends on how vigorous you are with your workouts.
Just because two people ride the same distance on their stationary bikes doesn’t mean they’re working at the same intensity and getting the same results.
When someone cycles at a high intensity, they exert higher energy levels at a lower time. That means they can burn twice as many calories in the same amount of time as another person working out at a lower intensity.
Are 30 Minutes on the Exercise Bike Enough?
That depends on your fitness level. If you’re a beginner, 30 minutes per day on a stationary bike can be enough if you combine them with a healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
However, you’ll need more than just 30 minutes a day if you’re already fit.
Remember that exercising on a stationary bike has countless benefits beyond just burning calories. So while this short exercise routine may not get you where you want in terms of numbers on the scale, it’ll benefit your overall physical and mental health.
After a couple of weeks of exercising, you’ll observe a boost in your mood and energy level. Your sleep pattern will improve as well.
If you stick to workouts for a month or more, you’ll gain muscles in your lower body, and your legs will be more sculpted. Your metabolic rate and heart-pumping capacity will also increase, which will reflect on your fat-burning rate.
Tips to Lose Weight Faster Using a Stationary Bike
Consistency Is Key
Consistency is the most critical component when working towards a goal, especially if it’s one with lots of variables like shedding weight. First, you need to figure out your goals and determine the best route to achieve them. If you’re unsure how to get started, consider talking to a personal trainer.
In general, start by working out on your stationary bike 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes. And as your body gets used to the exercise and your endurance increases, you can up your game and set up daily sessions on your bike.
Make Your Bike Comfortable
The seat position of your stationary bike can make all the difference when it comes to how consistent you are with your workout sessions.
An achy back and sore joints won’t encourage you to keep up with your workout routine. That’s why you should adjust the seat height and depth according to your height. Also, make sure your legs aren’t overstretched and that your back isn’t bent in an awkward position while cycling.
Play With the Resistance
Most stationary bikes come with different resistance levels. Depending on the model you have, your bike might feature 1-20 tension levels. By changing to a higher resistance level, you go from lower intensity to moderate intensity and then to higher ones.
This is actually a time-efficient way to lose more pounds during your bike ride because you’re exerting higher energy with each stroke. It’s also an excellent method to keep getting results from riding a stationary bike even after your body adapts to the exercise.
Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, “high-intensity interval training (HIIT) consists of short alternating periods of intense exercise with recovery periods of passive or mild-intensity movement.”
The best thing about this type of training is that it allows you to continue to burn calories even after you’ve stopped working out.
You can easily integrate it into your bike workout by doing short periods of riding at a higher intensity or speed, then following it with a period of cycling at a slower speed, and so on.
Consider Low-Intensity Steady-State Workouts (LISS)
If HIIT training doesn’t sound like an exercise you’d like, you can try low-intensity steady-state workout (LISS) instead. This is more of an enjoyable, laid-back training than a tiring one but offers the same results.
To perform it, you should go long and steady on your bike, aiming for a low level of intensity for a long, continuous period of time instead of short bursts of high exertion.
The only downside is that you’ll need to spend more time on the bike than with HIIT training.
By the end of this article, you should realize that seeing changes to your physical appearance is more of a long-term game than a short one.
You won’t get the desired results overnight, and even after a month, you may still not be entirely satisfied. The key is to be patient and stay motivated. Don’t fret over things that are out of your control, and enjoy feeling healthier during indoor cycling. The rest will come along the way.
Bon Voyage for your weight loss journey!
Emma James, 29 years old professional fitness trainer with Bachelor’s degree in Physical Fitness Technician from Boston University.